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(2.) Consider that the love of the world where it predominates, is a sign of want of love to God: If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Yea, even in a gracious soul, in so far as the love of the world sways the heart, in so far doth the love of God decay. They are as the scales of the balance, as the one goes up, the other goes down.

(3.) Consider the uncertainty of worldly things. They are as a bird that takes the wings of the morning, and flees away. Set not thy heart then on that which is not. How many and various changes as to the outward state are in a man's life! The beggar may well say, Hodie mihi, cras tibi. Men sometimes vile are exalted, honourable men are depressed; and the world is indeed volubilis rota ; that part which is now up, shall ere long be down. Seest thou not that there is no constancy to be observed in the world, save a constant inconstancy? All things go on in a constant course of vicissitude. Nebuchadnezzar in one hour is walking with an uplifted heart in his palace, saying, Is not this great Babglon that I have built, 8c.? and the next driven from men, and made to eat grass as an ox. Herod in great pomp makes an oration, the people cry out, It is the voice of a God, and not of a man, and he is immediately eaten up of

The rich man to-day fares sumptuously on earth, and tomorrow cannot get a drop of water to cool his tongue.

(4.) Consider the danger that people are in by worldly things, when they have more than daily bread. The rich man in Luke xii. felt this to be a stumbling-block on which he broke his neck. The young man in the gospel, for love of what he had of the world, parted with Christ, heaven and glory, and so made a sad exchange. Prosperity in the world is a dangerous thing; it is that which destroys fools, Prov. i. 32. When Jeshurun waxed fat, he kicked against God, and forgat the Lord that fed him, Deut. xxxii. 15. It was better for David when he was on the one side of the hill, and his enemies on the other, and so in great danger, than when he was walking at ease on his house-top, when he espied Bathsheba washing herself. And of this, O my soul, thou hast had the experience. Our Lord tells us, that it is very hard for a rich man to be saved; and teaches us, that it is hard to have riches, and not set the heart on them. What care and toil do men take to themselves to get them! what anxiety are they exercised with, and how do they torment themselves to keep them! and when they are got and kept, all is not operae pretium to them. Many by riches and honour, &c. have lost their bodies, and more have lost their souls. It exposes men to be the object of others, as Naboth was even for his vineyard ; and who can stand before envy? Prov. xxvii. 4. See 1 Tim. vi. 9, 10.

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This ruined Naboth, 1 Kings xxi. Da ebolum Belisario, quem virtus extulit, invidia depressit. So that he that handles the world, can very hardly come away with clean fingers. It is a snake in the bosom, that, if God prevent it not by his grace, may sting thy soul to death.

5. Remember the shortness and the uncertainty of thy time. Thou art a tenant at will, and knowest not how soon thou mayst remove; and thou canst carry nothing with thee. Therefore having food and raiment, (which the Lord does not let thee want), be therewith content, 1 Tim. vi. 7, 8. Thou art a stranger in this earth, going home to thy Father's house, where there will be no need of such things as the world affords. Why shouldst thou then, 0 my soul, desire any more than will carry theo to thy journey's end? Art thou going to set up thy tent on this side Jordan to dwell here? Art thou saying, It is good for me to be here ? Art thou so well entertained abroad, that thou desirest not to go home? No, no. Well then, O my soul, gird up the loins of thy mind. Thou art making homeward, and thy Father bids thee run and make haste : go then, and take no burden on thy back; lest it make thee halt by the way, and the doors be shut ere thou reachest home, and so thou lie without through the long night of eternity.

And to shut up all, remember that there are other things for thee to set thy affections on than the things of this world. There are things above that merit thy affections. Where is Christ, heaven and glory, when thou lookest upon the world, highly esteeming it? Seest thou no beauty in it to ravish thy heart? Surely the more thon seest in him, the less thou wilt see in the world. And hath not experience confirmed this to thee? Alas, when the beauty of the upper house is in my offer, that ever I should have any kindness for the world, that vile dwarf and monster, that shall at the last be seen by me all in a fire. Sursum cor, O my soul! thou lookest too low. Behold the King in his glory; look to him that died for thee, to save thee from this present evil world. See him sitting at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven. Behold the crown in his hand to give theo, when thou hast overcome the world. Behold the recompense of reward bought to thee with his precious blood, if thou overcome. Ah! art thou looking after toys, and going off thy way to gather the stones of the brook, when thou art running for a crown of gold, yea more than the finest gold? Does this become a man in his right wits? Yea, does it not rather argue madness, and a more than brutish stupidity? The brutes look down, but men are to look up. They have a soul capable of higher things than what the world affords: therefore,

Pronaque cum spectent animalia cætera terram,
Os homini sublime dedit, columque tueri
Jussit, et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus.

Be then of a more noble spirit than the earth-worms. Let the swine feed on husks. Be thou of a more sublime spirit: trample on those things that are below. Art thou clothed with the sun ? get the moon under thy feet then; despise it, look not on' it with love, turn from it, and pass away. Let it not move thee if thou be poor, Christ had not where to lay his head. Let not the prospect of future troublesome times make thee solicitous how to be carried through; for “ thou shalt not be ashamed in the evil days, and in the days of famine thou shalt be satisfied.” God hath said it, Psal. xxxvi. 19. therefore do thou believe it. Be not anxious about thy provision for old age, for by all appearance thou wilt never see it. It is more than probable thou wilt be sooner at thy journey's end. Thy body is weak; it is even stepping down to salute corruption as its mother, ere it has well entered the hall of the world : thy tabernacle pins seem to be drawing out by little and little already. Courage then, O my soul; ere long the devil, and the world, and the flesh shall be bruised under thy feet; and thou shalt be received into eternal mansions. But though the Lord should lengthen out thy days to old age, he that brought thee out of thy mother's belly, will not forsake thee then either. If he give thee life, he will give thee meat. Keep a loose hold of the world then; contemn it if thou wouldst be a fisher of men.

Seventhly, Christ was useful to souls in his private converse, taking occasion to instruct, rebuke, &c. from such things as offered. Thus he dealt with this woman of Samaria; he took occasion from the water she was drawing, to tell her of the living water, &c. Thus being at a feast, he rebuked the Pharisees that chose the uppermost seats, and instructed them in the right way of behaviour at feasts. O my soul, follow Christ in this. Be edifying in thy private converse. When thou art at any time in company, let something that smells of heaven drop from thy lips. Where any are faulty, reprove them as prudently as thou canst; where they appear ignorant, instruct them when need requires, &c. And learn that heavenly chymistry of extracting some spiritual thing out of earthly things. To this purpose and for this end endeavour after a heavenly frame, which will, as is storied of the philosopher's stone, turn every metal into gold. When the soul is heavenly, it will even scrape jewels out of a dunghill; whatever the discourse be, it will afford some one useful thing or another. Alas! my soul, that thou

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dost follow this example so little. O what a shame is it for thee to sit down in company, and rise again, and part with them, and never a word of Christ to be heard where thou art ? Be ashamed of this, and remember what Christ says, Matth. X. 32, 33. “Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father,—but whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father, which is in heaven.” How many times hast thou been somewhat exact in thy conversation when alone; but when in company, by the neglect of this duty, especially of rebuking, thou hast come away with loss and a troubled mind, because of thy faint-heartedness this way. Amend in this, and make thy converse more edifying, and take courage to reprove, exhort, &c. Thou knowest not what a seasonable admonition may do; the Lord may be pleased to back it with life and power.

Eighthly, Christ laid hold upon opportunities of public preaching when they offered, as is clear from the whole history of the gospel. He gave a pattern to ministers to be instant in season and out of

O my soul, follow Christ in this : refuse not any occasion of preaching, when God calls thee to it. It is very unlike Christ's practice for preachers of the gospel to be lazy, and slight the opportunities of doing good to a people, when the Lord puts opportunities in their hand. For this end consider,

1. Besides Christ's example, that thou art nothing worth in the world, in so far as thou art lazy. What for serve we, if we are not serviceable for God?

2. It may provoke God to take away thy talent and give it to another, if thou be not active. Whatever talent the Lord hath given thee, it must be employed in his service. He gave it not thee to hide it in a napkin. Remember what became of the unprofitable servant that hid his Lord's money.

3. Thou knowest not when thy Master shall come. And blessed is that servant whom, when his Lord shall come, he shall find so doing. If Christ should come and find thee idle, when he is calling thee to work, how wilt thou be able to look him in the face? They are well that die at Christ's work. *****








PSALM cxlii. 5.

I cried unto thee, O Lord, I said, Thou art my refuge, and my portion,

in the land of the living.*

That is a pertinent question to put to each of you, which was proposed to Elijah in the cave, What dost thou here, Elijah ? 1 Kings xix. 9. Sure I am, you have weighty business to do here, whether you lay it to heart or not. Ye are in this world as in a weary land, a wilderness, a place of great danger, and of great wants: and if

you have felt it so, ye are come with a design to seek a refuge, where ye may be in safety; and a portion for your souls, whence your wants may be supplied. Our text discovers where ye may find both: I cried unto thee, O Lord, I said, Thou art my refuge, and my portion in the land of the living.

These words shew us the course David took for relief in most straitening circumstances. He was hiding himself in a cave, that of Adullam or Engedi, for fear of Saul, by whom he was in hazard of his life. His spirit was like to sink under the burden of perplexing fears and griefs; he was in the utmost perplexity, ver. 3. My spirit was overwhelmed within me, says he. He was deserted by all, and as an outcast that nobody cared for, ver. 4. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me; refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. In this case he betakes himself to the Lord by prayer.

And here, 1. We may notice his praying in that case, I cried unto thee, O

The first sermon on this text was preached at Ettrick, August 19, 1722, immediately before the administration of the Lord's supper.

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